Diploma of Fine Art (Painting) at S.A. School of Art 1969 under Sydney Ball, Dora Chapman and Gordon Samstag
Diploma of Education Melbourne University Hawthorn 1972
Photography Studies College (PSC) Melbourne 1986
CELTA Holmes College Melbourne 2005
Born in Crystal Brook, near the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. Grew up in Adelaide
My preoccupation with the land as subject began in 1991 when I participated in an archaeological trip to the Middle East to document the now flooded region of northern Syria at Tel Ahmer. The archetypal deserts of Mesopotamia reminded me of the Ancient landscapes of Australia, and especially the deserts surrounding the River Murray at Mildura in Northern Victoria where, in 1886, my Canadian great grandfather William Benjamin Chaffey and his brother George established irrigation settlements that changed that landscape forever.
In 1997, following several field trips to the Riverland, the Mallee and Lake Mungo I was invited to mount a solo show '
Body of Water' at the Mildura Regional Art Gallery during the Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival. That exhibition took the ground view. Even then however, the aerial perspective over that region had begun to embed itself in my practice, leading to further exhibitions in Melbourne and regional galleries.
After further immersing myself in the landscape of the Murray Darling Basin, my way of seeing and my methodology has changed, particularly in response to the call in 1998 for artists to make works for 'Mildura Palimpsest', when I began the ‘Garden Story’trilogy.
This project spanned several years in different locations around Mildura, and focuses on the notion of land as body and a repository for memory, whilst observing the impact of agricultural practices on fragile landscapes.
Each of these works had a special significance for me: each comprised both a gallery and an outdoor site specific installation. Examine more closely recent developments in the story of modern agribusiness. Whilst also paying homage to the aesthetics of industry and the abstracted landscape, some of the imprinted painting methodologies I developed in the ‘60s have re-emerged to serve the process of speaking about land as metaphor.